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Panelists on both sides of abortion debate if pro-lifers can be feminists


  • Aimee Murphy, founder and executive director of Rehumanize International, speaks during an April 10 panel discussion on pro-life advocacy and feminism at The Catholic University of America in Washington. (CNS photo/The Catholic University of America)
  • Speakers debate whether pro-life advocates also can be feminists at an April 10 panel discussion at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Panelists included Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International, writer and activist Robin Marty, Cessilye Smith of Doulas for Life and Pamela Merritt of Reproaction. (CNS photo/The Catholic University of America)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Convened for a panel discussion on whether pro-life advocates can be feminists, three speakers from each side of the abortion issue debated the topic for an hour and ultimately agreed on one thing: the need for both sides to build more coalitions to improve conditions for women, including better overall access to health care.

The April 10 panel discussion on the campus of The Catholic University of America in Washington was sponsored by the university's Institute for Human Ecology and moderated by Angela Knobel, associate professor of philosophy and an institute fellow. It drew a crowd of 125.

"I was a feminist before I was pro-life, and I'm honestly pro-life because I'm a feminist," said panelist Aimee Murphy, founder and executive director of Rehumanize International in Pittsburgh. Her organization, formerly Life Matters Journal, is an education and advocacy group dedicated to promoting a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death.

Like Murphy, the other two pro-life panelists, Cessilye Smith of Doulas for Life and Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists, also strongly emphasized a consistent life ethic that opposes abortion and all threats to life.

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